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MorphOS 3.0 Released: Refusing To Let the PPC Desktop OS Die Gracefully

ninjakoala Putting things into perspective (214 comments)

As always anything Amiga-related brings out the preachers saying what others should or should not do - particularly whether things should be allowed to live or not. As most Amiga history is, the story of MorphOS is convoluted. But let's instead look at what it does and what it can offer to those interested.

First of all it's Amiga-compatible. Out of the currently available "next-gen" AmigaOSes, it's probably the most backwards compatible. Now this obviously only matters if you already own Amiga software or like what's on Aminet - which means you're likely an Amiga user already and get what it's all about anyway.

Everyone else might find it interesting because it's lightning fast even on these older machines. I am actually typing this from a 1.25 GHz G4 Mac Mini with 512MB of RAM, and it's every bit as responsive as my i7 Mac Mini server with 16 GB of RAM. In fact it boots and launches the apps I need much faster (if both are turned off - the server usually isn't).

Why you might like it:
What it is great for is general surfing, mail, light productivity and such. To an extent a lot of the same stuff your typical Linux distro is good at. Except faster - even faster than something like Puppy Linux or DSL. It is quite easy to learn your way around like the other Amiga-based systems - far easier than the mainstream operating systems IMHO.

It has a lot of nice apps built-in like CD/DVD authoring, text editor with syntax highlighting, basic music player, picture gallery software, CD-ripping software,FTP/SFTP client, PDF viewer and a Webkit-based browser. It also has some a very lovely SSH client, some very good IRC clients, some nice VNC and RDP clients, lots of emulators, a lot of games and game ports, graphics software like Blender and much more. A lot of the same goes for other Amiga-like flavours and both MorphOS and AmigaOS 4 can run a lot of older Amiga apps out of the box as well. There is also software actively developed by third parties like Hollywood from Airsoft Softwair which I cannot say enough nice things about. Publishing software like Pagestream is also still maintained.

In other words you have a functional and fast computer out of the box and you can explore a lot of software afterwards. OS geeks should have as much fun with this as with Haiku, various BSD and *nix flavours and so on.

Why you might not like it:
Your kids want the latest and greatest Flash games. You want to watch 1080p video (not really an OS limitation but rather hardware). You want to run a server or have a multiuser environment. You absolutely cannot tolerate a crash (while I have yet to see a system crash, there is no memory protection. It IS very stable, though). You're just not curious about other operating systems and like what you have.

It should also be noted that WiFi support is on the way, and like previous updates it's likely to be free. Yes, the entry price is somewhat steep, but historically a one-time purchase (license is tied to the machine) gets you all subsequent updates for free. I bought it at 2.5 if I remember correctly and have not paid anything since. That's pretty decent value to me.

more than 2 years ago

Windows Phone Homebrew Hits a Snag

ninjakoala Re:The N9 is/was beauiful (185 comments)

"No one really wants WP7, and it just isn't very good."

Speak for yourself, sir. Clearly at least 10k rooting customers disagree and I as well.

I just ordered a WP7 phone. Not so much because I think it's the Best Phone OS Ever Made(TM), but because I feel like trying something different after using iPhone since the 3G came out. Since I have an iPhone 4 through work I thought it would be fun to try out WP7 on my personal number. Bought a mid-range phone (Omnia W) so I don't waste too much money if I end up not liking it.

I've played around with it in shops and liked what I saw, though. Unlike Android (but like Meego) it is sufficiently different from iOS to pique my interest.

That said I agree that Nokia should have kept working on Meego. I tried an N9 and while it didn't feel particularly polished, I certainly thought it was a promising start. I'm sad to see it go - especially after having followed the OS since it was Moblin.

more than 2 years ago

Linus Torvalds Ditches GNOME 3 For Xfce

ninjakoala Re:Desktop schmesktop (835 comments)

With all due respect, your assertion that it "crams everything into one screen" is confusing.

Not only that but it is also incorrect.

Between Exposé, Spaces (previously) and (these days) Desktops and Mission Control there are plenty of ways to configure OS X's window management. I have my gripes with the new methods implemented in Lion - especially some inconsistency regarding the handling of desktops versus fullscreen applications - but overall it's as usable as any *nix Window manager I've tried. Since I've been sampling various distros and *nix-like operating systems since around Redhat 4.x I think I've tried most of them.

more than 3 years ago

77 Million Accounts Stolen From Playstation Network

ninjakoala Re:An ill wind blows nobody well (645 comments)

"why not go back to personal computers for gaming?"

Well, every time I do, I have to sit and wait for endless updates of the OS and games through various cloud services. Heck, some retail games even require that your connection doesn't drop out during game play or your lose your progress. Services are all over the place (EA, Steam, Microsoft), you aren't guaranteed that you can use your preferred input method (Bioshock 2 didn't support gamepads at launch for instance) and some just hate playing with an input device that wasn't meant for gaming in the first place (like me). Yes, for some game types keyboard and mouse are convenient but for most I'd rather have a 360-style controller. Especially since my arthritic condition makes it rather painful to use keyboard and mouse for gaming for any extended period of time.

"and you can do a lot more with a computer besides."

This is certainly true. However, while it is a jack of all trades it is not a master of them.

Gaming on computers has become more convenient recently with Steam, Games for Windows Live (at least if they all guaranteed that you could play the games as you would on your console as a bare minimum), OnLive, but there's still DRM from hell and all the hassle that comes from having a rig that's not entirely devoted to gaming.

"Anyway, computers are conclusively better if only for the fact that you can play MP3s while you game. That rules."

Yes. Been doing that since 2005 on my Xbox 360.

more than 3 years ago

Left-Handed Gamers Getting Left Behind?

ninjakoala I thought gaming was for lefties... (426 comments)

While I can't game on a PC using a mouse in my right hand, regular joystick/joypad gaming has always been a perfect for me as a leftie.

I'd grab a stick/pad with my left hand since that's the most natural thing in the world for me (just like when I use a pen, fork or anything else where it matters which hand you use). Using a fire button is easy using my right hand, since that's not something that requires a lot of fine control to the same extent as controlling a character on-screen.

Arcade cabinets were perfect for me as a leftie. Same goes for all controllers for consoles. A few digital joysticks were awkward due to placement of fire buttons (back when we had real joysticks, remember?) but most analogue joysticks were impossible to use, as they were physically shaped to be held by a right hand.

As long as things aren't shaped explicitly for right-handed people, I think most lefties can easily keep up.

Then again YMMV, since I personally don't see how left-handed people can use a left-handed guitar. I want my strongest hand on the fretboard, so I use right-hand guitars.

about 4 years ago

Nokia and RIM Respond To Apple's Antenna Claims

ninjakoala Re:Won't make a difference (514 comments)

This is just anecdotal evidence of course, but I've never had my iPhone 3G drop a call. Not once. It's only been used in Denmark and Norway, though.

But - and this is rather interesting - my previous provider was having some trouble, where suddenly I couldn't make calls at all or use data. When I switched to an older phone (Sony-Ericsson W810i) I could eventually get a lock on the signal, but data was still a no go. Making calls was a hit and miss affair. When I switched to an old black/white Nokia (1112 I believe), it acted like you would expect. Driving to the next town I'd have no problems on any of the phones. I switched provider and have had no problems since.

In other words it seems like if a network has issues, they will be amplified by the complexity of the phone.

more than 4 years ago

After a Decade, Digital Radio Still an Also-Ran In UK

ninjakoala Re:Hmm, I wonder (200 comments)

I went all-out and bought a Pure Evoke Flow, because it had DAB (and luckily DAB+ which will soon replace DAB here) as well as internet radio, podcast support, uPNP playback, FM radio and so on. The last two places I've lived, DAB has had an advantage over the FM band.

The town where I used to live, local radio stations were transmitting with so much power that it drowned out the national stations unless you had a roof antenna in large parts of the town. DAB worked perfectly.

Now I live out in the sticks, but whereas DVB-T is an absolute nightmare, DAB gives me perfect reception of all radio stations, whereas the best I can get on the FM band is a few stations with a little hissing in the background.

So yes, the audio quality takes a hit in terms of bitrate, but in other areas it can be superior. It's also nice to have more stations to choose from that aren't crummy local stations with brainless pop-tunes.

more than 4 years ago

Where Are the Joysticks For Retro Gaming?

ninjakoala Re:Whats wrong with the USB Competition Pro? (262 comments)

I have both the original competition pro joysticks as well as the USB versions. The stick is fine in the USB version, but the buttons are simply awful. They don't have the same level of responsiveness as the original (or any other high quality microswitched joystick) and after a while they get even worse. I gave up and just hooked up the wired Xbox 360-controller instead in the end.

more than 4 years ago

No iPhone Apps, Please — We're British

ninjakoala Re:just plain insulting (393 comments)

I've seen one once. It looked fairly interesting. I see iPhones and Android sets everywhere, though (mostly iPhones).

more than 4 years ago

No iPhone Apps, Please — We're British

ninjakoala Re:just plain insulting (393 comments)

As far as I can tell that's just sales for a specific time frame. Not all-time sales. Also consider that iPod Touch devices are capable of running the same applications - expanding the platform considerably.

Here are some actual US marketshare numbers from 2010: Nielsen.

more than 4 years ago

No iPhone Apps, Please — We're British

ninjakoala Re:just plain insulting (393 comments)

"Better" for some. The fact that you prefer one brand or piece of tech over another does not make you smarter - it's just your opinion.

All other considerations aside, there's a good reason why iPhone is the target platform for lots of applications: It was the first phone to pull off a mobile computing platform. Yes, Android phones, Blackberry phones (and more) are lovely too, but to be honest, I think developing for iPhone is the mobile equivalent of developing for Windows: It's the platform where there's the biggest chance someone will use your product - due to sheer volume and users' behavioral patterns. I think it's not the best use of neither money nor technology, but if you have to settle on applications for a mobile platform, I can't see a stronger alternative. Not right now at least.

In this case the only reason to develop an application instead of a website is so you can use it for reference while out of coverage. I don't know how relevant that is in the UK, but here in Denmark I would never have to walk far to regain coverage (yeah, no AT&T here, so only real problem is in valleys with no coverage).

more than 4 years ago

Timberwolf (a.k.a. Firefox) Alpha 1 For AmigaOS

ninjakoala Re:AmigaOS (152 comments)

"Official Amiga" is, I guess, the system running "Amiga OS" from whoever has the rights to call it that. The name has been shifted around a lot, but the PPC systems run an operating system directly descended from the m68k Amigas.

Macs run on x86 instead of PPC or m68k these days too.

The right to use the Amiga-related names lie at Amiga Inc. and Hyperion Entertainment CVBA (some usages exclusive to Hyperion - some on license). Hyperion works with third parties to deliver machines. The AmigaOne X1000 from A-Eon will be the first fully Amiga-branded machine (branded case, mouse, keyboard) to release since Amiga 4000T.

more than 4 years ago

Timberwolf (a.k.a. Firefox) Alpha 1 For AmigaOS

ninjakoala Re:AmigaOS (152 comments)

They run most system friendly m68k software through JIT emulation. You can, of course, also run UAE and variants thereof to run hardware banging software. RunInUAE is an almost entirely transparent method to do so.

more than 4 years ago

Safari 5 Released

ninjakoala Re:Extensions and Mobile Safari (308 comments)

Agreed, adblockers are the killer app for the web.

I agree. I just think "killer app for the web" has a different meaning than you.

more than 4 years ago

Safari 5 Released

ninjakoala Re:That's why Safari users use ClickToFlash (308 comments)

You could also use SafariBlock if that's what you wanted.

Glims also gives lots of extra functionality without bloating the browser.

more than 4 years ago

The Apple Broadcast Network

ninjakoala Re:exaggerated numbers (190 comments)

I suspect a lot of the people who bought two iPhones or iPods handed their old model down to family. My mom now has my old iPod Touch, since I have an iPhone.

You're correct that not all are in the US, but then again: Does it matter? The internet is already decentralized. Heck, it could be the first step to kill off geoblocking - and wouldn't that be lovely?

more than 4 years ago

MorphOS 2.5 Released, Supports More Old Macs

ninjakoala Re:Why not just use a Linux distribution? (177 comments)

Personally I think Linux distributions are clumsy and still not user friendly. I can easily get by with using a given Linux distro (or BSD) for a desktop, but I'd hate the extra hassle that it entails.

Linux has reached the point where it's really easy to install, and often it's a smoother process to set up a Ubuntu install than a Windows install on the same hardware (supposing you don't have hardware out of the ordinary or want to use media center functionality, play back media in non-open formats etc), but once I start using it for my everyday work, I always end up spending more time figuring out solutions than getting work done - and I've used Linux and BSD on and off for about 12 years. In later years I've changed my usage pattern, so I install Linux to play around with instead of getting work done. That works for me.

MorphOS, on the other hand, installed nice and fast, and while the OS lacks a central repository (like OS4 Depot for AmigaOS 4), it's still easy enough to find software for it. Mind you, I'm not using this as my main OS either. I would use my AmigaOS 4.1 machine, if I wanted work done, but it's still a nice OS, and I've set it up so I can use it as an internet terminal in a living room. The Mac Mini is perfect for hiding away, and MorphOS boots so fast that my 3G router is online just after MorphOS has hit the desktop.

There is lots of free software (including some you are used to on Linux) and if you know your way around Amiga software, this is a great way to run it. Aminet is still full of software, and now that there are decent browsers (OWB, Sputnik), SSH software (SSHCON), nice mail clients (SimpleMail, YAM), excellent IRC clients (Wookiechat, AmIRC), graphics tools, music players and video players... really.. what more do you need for home use?

I've switched to Google Docs, so an up to date native office package is no longer a priority.

more than 4 years ago

MorphOS 2.5 Released, Supports More Old Macs

ninjakoala Re:Why not just use a Linux distribution? (177 comments)

Amiga Inc. did not force Amithlon off the market.

What happened was that the distributor (Haage & Partner) supplied Kickstart ROM and related software for the developers Bernd Meyer and Harald Frank. It turned out that Haage & Partner were not licensed to distribute said software, so Bernd Meyer terminated his relationship with the company over breach of contract.

After this, Haage & Partner kept selling Amithlon for a considerable amount of time and lawsuits were filed against Bernd Meyer. Initially he tried developing a new version without code related to Haage & Partner and Harald Frank, but eventually dropped the project in 2002, because he was no longer interested in fighting his former partners.

While Amiga Inc. screwed up plenty of things, this was not one of them.

more than 4 years ago

Apple Blindsides More AppStore Developers

ninjakoala Re:Do iPhone users actually care? (716 comments)

I notice a handful of developers who have a beef with the way Apple runs their App store, but do any users actually care? Are there hundreds of thousands of users who are hating Apple right now because Apple is denying the users access to a killer application that they simply can't live without?

Not really. I, however, am a customer, and this particular rejection doesn't sit right with me. This is exactly the kind of functionality I want my iPad-to-be to have, when I'm not actively using it.

For the same reason I wrote to and explained my concern as a customer.

Occasionally Apple listens.

more than 4 years ago

Why Apple Is So Sticky

ninjakoala Re:Because of the kind of people who buy Apple (595 comments)

1) The segment that thinks that Apple is easier and "just works" when compared to Windows. They dont want to fuck about with their PC. (I disagree with these people because Windows7 "just works" too)

Really? I've got Vista on a gaming rig here, and I've not upgraded because it still largely "just works", but it's still one big update-reboot-update, click away warnings, update anti-virus software, reboot-update-reboot nightmare, because I don't use it every day. Will Windows 7 be better in that respect?

more than 4 years ago


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